While we’ve already established this week that the Kansas City Chiefs defense is more toothless than the Abominable Snowman in that Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer Christmas movie from back in the day...
(get it? Cause Hermie the elf steals all his teeth? Get it? Get it?? No wonder half of us are terrified of the dentist)
....it sure is nice to know the Patriots offensive line is flexing on everyone a little bit going into the game all of America’s talking about this weekend.
(Note: ‘game all of America’s talking about’ isn’t just homer hyperbole; they had a question on the Dan Patrick Show yesterday on whether you’d rather watch Pats-Chiefs this Sunday or every other game this weekend (meaning if you watch Sunday Night Football, you can’t watch any of the other games)...guess what everybody chose)
Fair is fair, since your faithful keyboard quarterback over here spent most of last season praying that Tom Brady’s recovery PJ’s were legit given the pounding he was taking, we’ve got to give them the props they deserve when they’re playing like a top-10-level brick wall in front of the GOAT.
Which they are.
Last week, we pointed out that Tom Brady hasn’t been sacked since that part in Week 3 where they jumped into the pool with their cell phone in their pocket, and Pro Football Focus’s offensive line grades are here to confirm that it’s not just you, this O-line might actually be good.
How good? Trent, Joe, David, Shaq, and Marcus grade out well enough to be ranked 9th overall in PFF’s offensive line rankings this week. These are assessments for every team’s offensive line through the season so far, keep in mind, so New England faceplanting through weeks 2 and 3 is all in there too. Meanwhile, as I write this, and I take absolutely no pleasure in having to break the news here, Nate Solder is doing...not great things:
Back to our boys up front: PFF has New England’s offensive line graded as the 9th-best unit in football right now. Shot/chaser - they’re also graded as better than the Dallas Cowboys, who, correctly or not, are usually referred to as the manliest of the manly when it comes to O-line wrecking crews.
Here’s PFF’s grades for the guys individually:
Left Tackle: Trent Brown, 61.0
Left Guard: Joe Thuney, 70.0
Center: David Andrews, 71.8
Right Guard: Shaq Mason, 72.8
Right Tackle: Marcus Cannon, 61.7
And here’s their notes on the guy who’s probably picking up the dinner check for everyone for a while, the newly extended Shaq Mason:
The interior of the Patriots’ offensive line have all been in the midst of solid 2018 outings, but right guard Shaq Mason narrowly takes the cake here. Most encouraging has been his work in pass protection, which has been his weaker area over the course of his career. With only four pressures allowed so far, Mason is on pace to allow over 10 fewer than he did in 2017.
Four pressures allowed by Shaq in five games. From a fourth-round pick that ran a triple-option offense in college. Drink it in, it always goes down smooth.
Without knowing too much about the Ancient Aliens technology that PFF uses to grade offensive line play, it’s also encouraging that the interior of the line appears to all be on the same page and playing at a high level. Sure, there’s been mistakes, and there’s been plenty of times they’ve been beaten and Sony Michel or James White’s been stacked up for no gain, but at the same time, you get three guys like Thuney, Andrews, and Mason playing together for the third straight season now, and that’s what that whole “trust” thing is all about.
Enjoy your weekend, everyone, and maybe just go ahead and call out of work on Monday now. Pats-Chiefs AND Red Sox-Astros Game 2, and...yeah, they’re both at home.
Never take these runs from these teams for granted.